Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Kindle News: Amazon Cloud Player app ready for iPhone & iPod touch. Amazon to open Android app stores in Europe. Google makes major e-book deal with France. Len Edgerly's The Kindle Chronicles adds lots of Kindle news and interviews

Amazon Cloud Player app is now available for iPhone and iPod touch at the iTunes appstore.

For those of you with iPads, Amazon announced today that the Amazon Cloud Player for iOS app can now be downloaded from iTunes.

  The Amazon app is of course free, and Amazon customers, globally, get 5 GB of cloud storage for free.

All mp3's that are bought from Amazon do not count against storage maximums, so essentially they always come with free storage and, for U.S. customers at this point (maybe more later), streaming from Amazon servers.

Their press release said that "those who purchase any storage plan will receive unlimited space for MP3 and AAC (.m4a) music files at no additional cost."  Normally, that's $20 per year when they have unlimited-storage offers.

  With the app, you can download or stream your library from the cloud or play the music already on your device.  It also allows you to create and edit playlists, play music in the background, "or use Bluetooth to stream your music in your house or car."

Amazon Appstore to hit Europe this summer
3G.co.uk's Simon D Thomas is the latest of many who've been writing stories about Amazon's Appstore's expected expansion to Europe during the summer.

  The Kindle Fire has not been sold internationally, so their sales have been missing a very big market.  And many outside the US have been understandably impatient with Amazon for not having made it available.  Thomas gives some reasons why it's not happened yet:
' The problem for Amazon has been that they need to make fresh agreements for books, music and movies in every market they launch.  This can be hugely complicated and takes a huge amount of time, but it looks like Amazon have been slowly making progress. '
The site is realistic and balanced in their reviews although Thomas has a certain enthusiasm shown in his "In the US the Amazon Kindle Fire has proved hugely successful due [to] its low price-point ($200 or £150) and is thought to have prompted a response from Apple (iPad Mini) and Google (Google Nexus Tablet).  We hope it comes to the UK because it offers such amazing value that it would change our tablet market forever !"

Amazon has been making large gains with LoveFilm, the European Netflix equivalent, and I imagine that this has something to do with streaming that would become available for Kindle Fire in Europe.

Google and the e-book deal with the publishing industry in France
paidContent's Jeff John Roberts reports that Google's major deal with French authors and publishers, announced yesterday, to sell digital copies of out of print books (scanned by Google) ended a 6-year legal dispute.

  He points out in his first article on this yesterday that France passed a law this spring "that creates a new royalty collection mechanism for out-of-print works that will be owned in part by the state and managed in part by the Biliothèque nationale.

  Fair payment will always be the important factor here!  In the U.S., Google had scanned millions of books BEFORE getting permissions and there was the matter of how much control they would have over these.  A federal court rejected in 2010 the Google Books Settlement reached with some of the affected, and "Harvard Librarian Robert Darnton and others are calling for the creation of 'a digital library of America'."

The report yesterday goes into detail on how this will work -- the ground rules.

In Roberts' article today, the focus is on how this Agreement could hurt the growth of Amazon Kindle in Europe.
' According to reports in Le Figaro and publishing site ActuaLitté, the agreement does not allow the publishers to distribute the digital books through Google’s direct competitors — read: Amazon. '
That has a slightly familiar ring to it.  Big Bad Monopolist Amazon (as well as others) would be foiled again before it could really monopolize the e-book market place, the world saved from that by a small consumer-oriented company with little money and power.

  Roberts' take is that "If the Google e-books take off, Amazon will be the odd one out as the e-books can be read directly on devices made by Sony or Barnes & Noble or through the Google Play app on Apple devices."

The Nook is not sold internationally, however.

The point is iffy in that the Kindle Fire CAN read Google books directly!  He probably is focusing on e-Ink readers, but there is also the factor of reader loyalty and trust that is built on the quality of customer relations and service, and so far, we have seen how hard it is to phone or reach a human at Google when you need help.  Whenever I want to read an ePub book, I just pick up the Kindle Fire, which is priced reasonably, is very versatile and uses Android apps that read ePub books, including those with Adobe DRM via using the normal digital rights procedures.

We just saw, with the State Dept's $16.5 million contract with Amazon for Kindle Touch devices and support, how others who make buying decisions will look at more than the most basic features when money spent must be recorded and justified.

   In reviews of the e-Ink Nook and Kindle Touch devices, you'll see many reviewers mentioning these days mainly that a home page layout and a built-in led light makes the Nook the better reader, despite somewhat lowered display contrast,  and not telling their readers that unlike the Kindle, the Nook Touch has no web browser (the Kindle Touch's is quite serviceable) has no audio, therefore no text to speech or music, no X-Ray automated character search, no instant word translation (superb), no 3G wireless domestically or abroad and, most of all to some of us, it has no decent customer support policies.  The latter is really important when it comes to dealing with new digital media deivce problems.

  Roberts is right, though, that the e-ink readers that can read Google books directly will have the advantage there.  But he also points out that the Google Collection "is composed of out-of-print works which, by definition, exclude new books and bestsellers.  That means Amazon is still free to make a play for the most valuable part of the digital book market."
  There's nothing like good competition though, and that will help keep Amazon on its toes.

  It did surprise me that the French e-book market is worth only $38 million -- "or less than one percent of the country's $7.85 billion overall book market according to a new report.  He links to an article by Laura Owen, citing the costs involved and a lack of e-readers.

Recently, as mentioned before, The Kindle Chronicles podcast with descriptive summaries, is now also a written blog (Len is  an excellent writer) and has TONS of Kindle information.

He's been reporting in detail, with enjoyable, balanced analysis, from BookExpo (BEA) and always has good Kindle tech tips and interesting interviews on an ongoing basis.

At BEA, he interviewed Russ Grandinetti, Amazon's VP of Kindle Content, taking a photo of Grandinetti for the blog interview (who doesnt look like your usual 'suit').  Engaging shot.

  The interview, on his podcast, starts at 23:38 into the mp3 audio and covers "a wide-ranging discussion of eBook pricing, Digital Rights Management, Kindle Singles [ab here: When I first saw this feature announced, I thought Amazon was branching out into dating services], social reading, and how much longer there will be a Kindle Keyboard in the lineup.  Rather than quote Grandinetti's response (which is nothing solid as that is not Amazon's style), I'll link you to the blog again so you can read it there and see what else is available.

Also interviewed recently is Eric Hellman, whose go to hellman blog is one of my favorites for thought-filled, informative, very clear pieces on what are normally considered complex topics.

The latest article is about Stephen King's apparent decision to publish, in June 2013, his latest novel, Joyland, in print form only.  Len writes:
' The author was quoted as saying, “Joyland will be coming out in paperback, and folks who want to read it will have to buy the actual book.”

The actual book? '

Exactly my thought.  What's a book but the organization of words selected from the author's mind?  Is an 'actual book' a cover design? The font style? The back cover blurbs? the type of paper?
  I'm probably over-flexible but isn't it the sequence of words and the organization of them that makes a book, whether in print or in digital-form?   It's so 'retro' to even imply that an e-book is not an 'actual book'  today.  The comments to the blog entry on King's decision are not sympathetic to King, and while that's a self-selecting group (e-book reading), it's also a group that will involve a lot of lost sales.  It's bizarre.

But, do check out Len's expanded http://thekindlechronicles.com for a treat.

Current Kindle Models for reference, plus free-ebook search links
Kindle Fire  7" tablet - $199
Kindle NoTouch ("Kindle") - $79/$109
Kindle Touch, WiFi
- $99/$139
Kindle Touch, 3G/WiFi - $149/$189
Kindle Keybd 3G - $189, Free, slow web
Kindle DX - $379, Free, slow web
Kindle Basic, NoTouch - £89
Kindle Touch WiFi, UK - £109
Kindle Touch 3G/WiFi, UK - £169
Kindle Keyboard 3G, UK - £149
  Keybd: w/ Free, slow 3G WEB
OTHER International
Kindle NoTouch Basic - $109
Kindle Touch WiFi - $139
Kindle Touch 3G/WiFi - $189
Kindle Keybd 3G - $189
  Keybd: w/ Free, slow 3G WEB

Check often: Temporarily-free recently published Kindle books
  Guide to finding Free Kindle books and Sources.  Top 100 free bestsellers.  Liked-books under $1
UK-Only: recently published free books, bestsellers, or £5 Max ones
    Also, UK customers should see the UK store's Top 100 free bestsellers.

  *Click* to Return to the HOME PAGE.  Or click on the web browser's BACK button Below are ways to Share this post if you'd like others to see it.
-- The Send to Kindle button works well only on Firefox currently.

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(Older posts have older Kindle model info. For latest models, see CURRENT KINDLES page. )
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